Family tragedy inspires Barnard Castle powerlifter to world title
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
ONLY two years after taking up a sport to help make up numbers on a team, a dale athlete has been crowned world powerlifting champion.
Lainey Hunt, 42, of Victoria Road in Barnard Castle, clinched the title of World Drugs-Free Powerlifting Champion at a contest in Glasgow earlier this month.
She deadlifted 167.7kg and says she feels “phenomenal, but a little sore”.
Mrs Hunt, who is a warrant officer in the 32 Engineers, now based at Catterick Garrison, grew up in Barnard Castle and after serving all over the world is delighted to be living back in the town.
She credits the support she received from family and friends in helping achieve
the win. She said: “I feel phenomenal at the moment, a bit sore. I put everything I had into the last lift and when I did it, I knew I had the title. I couldn’t have done it
without the support from my family.”
Mrs Hunt only took up the sport, which is comprised of three elements – the squat, bench press and deadlift – two years ago after a colleague asked her to make up numbers in a powerlifting team representing the Army.
She impressed the coaches so much when she won her class they asked her to continue. However, at the beginning of the year she says she felt like giving up.
Her husband, Nathan, who was also an army warrant officer, suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) following a tour in Afghanistan, took his own life.
She added: “I got the news when I was at the gym and I just lost all enthusiasm for the sport and I told my coach I needed to step back. He told me to take my time and I slowly got back in the gym.
“The thing with powerlifting is it’s 50 per cent physical and 50 per cent mental and at Glasgow I finally felt that I was there.”
Mrs Hunt said the support of family, friends and colleagues helped her overcome the tragedy and having her parents close by has helped.
She said: “It’s great having my mum and dad just six doors away and the support I get when I go to the gym is great, everyone helps each other.”
And as well as training in the gym twice a day Mrs Hunt has to abide by strict rules laid down by the World Drugs-Free Powerlifting Federation, which prohibits the use of dietary supplements and many over-the-counter medications on top of recognised performance enhancing drugs.
She said: “I have been in the Army for 22 years and we get drugs tested all the time. With Drugs-Free Powerlifting there is a huge list of things you can’t take, including some normal medicines and food supplements, which makes it a very level playing field. You have to be very careful and make sure your body is in tip top condition.”
Not only did Mrs Hunt take the title, she also managed to gain personal bests in all three of the elements. She added: “I’ll have a week off from training and then I’ll be concentrating on getting into shape for the qualification rounds for next year’s championship. I just want to be a good role model for my daughter Megan and to other ladies to show them it’s never too late to try something out.”